The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Sunday 19 April 2015

Stretch a meal and use it up. Crumbles.

Today I am starting what will be a series, "Stretch a meal and use it up".
There are so many ways to do both these things and when you are doing both togehter you are onto a winner! Like with crumbles. Good old fashioned and yummy crumbles.

Firstly they "use it up" on two levels. You can use up quite tired fruit that is no longer appealing fresh (and could be headed for the bin) in a crumble. So that bowl of apples going soft become something delicious. You can use up a glut of fruit. You can use tinned fruit that you found on a great special.
In summer I had peaches that needed using that day or it would be too late.  I used a suggestion I gratefully recieved here and made a peach crumble. Actually several. Once this fruit was cooked I had a few more days to use it too. It was the best crumble I ever made!

So you are using tired fruit that might have been wasted. Or bargain fruit or tinned. You can mix some of this and that if you think they will go together. I have mixed pear and apple, rhubarb and apple, apricot and apple... apple and sultanas. You can use raw fruit, in which case cook it longer and slower, or cooked fruit which will heat through and be cooked quicker so you are really just going for a golden brown topping. If you are not sure go to your most trusted chef, cook book or website and check out a few recipes or use a family one as your basic recipe and vary from there. You cannot tell someone how much sugar to add as some fruit is already sweet and some is tart. You really need to add and taste. But once you have made one then it is an easy go to desert any time you have fruit to use up.

The crumble part, the topping, is also using up left overs. Your crumble topping uses up all kinds of things that could have been thrown away. Once you make crumbles you see all sorts of things that you can save to go towards your next one. Keep a big jar in the pantry and add dry ingredients that can be used as your next crumble topping. Some great things include...
The crumbs from the bottom of the cereal packet.
Crumbs from the bottom of the biscuit barrel or packet.
Left over cereals or museli.
Oatmeal, rolled oats, porridge.
Sultanas, nuts, other dried fruits.
Biscuits that no one liked much!
Anything that is not already crushed I put in a snap lock bag and belt it with the rolling pin and in it goes. As long as things are dry they will keep in your jar ready for your next crumble.
In the fridge I keep left over nuts. Crushed these are beautiful in your crumble toppings.

When you need a topping you melt some butter, add some flour, brown sugar plus some of your mix and that is it!

My best ever crumble was very simple. I greased a baking dish and 3/4 filled it with sliced and peeled peaches. These were sweet so I added the smallest sprinkle of sugar.
In a bowl I melted butter, maybe half a cup or so, and added flour, brown sugar and crushed walnuts. I added a dash of cinnamon. I tasted it to see if it was sweet enough, so just go by taste. It should be delicious.
Once this was crumbly I sprinkled it in a thick layer over my peaches and baked it until the crumble was golden and I could see the fruit was bubbly.
Served with cream this was just beautiful. Crumbles soak up cream or ice cream like a sponge. Custard is the other obvious addition.

As we always have nuts in the house I include some crushed nuts now in my topping. But you can adapt your toppings to suit yourself and be nut free or gluten free or whatever you wish.

Crumbles used to be something our Grandmothers made and for good reason. But now they are "in fashion" again I notice as the cooking shows and restaurants have been featuring them (along with a lot of good old fashioned comfort foods).

I made one on the weekend and I used a tin of pie apricots as Andy loves apricots. He worked all weekend so I made special dinners. I used the flour, butter, brown sugar, crushed walnut mix. It was beautiful and as it was raining outside a cooked desert was a treat. We don't have desert every night. It is either special or when I feel dinner was a bit light on or when I am serving soup as a main. Then I get a meal from less and top it up with desert. To me desert can be used as a way to bulk out a meal when you need to do that.

I just love that you can make something so good from fading fruit and remnants saved up from cereals etc. You feel as if you have made something wonderful out of thin air.

Recipes that use up our leftovers, stretch a meal, make the most of the times when we have too much of something and help the budget overall are just so good. Pizza is a good one. So many bits and pieces work as toppings! And so many things work as bases.

Some others I find really useful are impossible pies, fried rice, sweet or savory scones (biscuits), pancakes, corn bread, custards... baked, rice, creme caramel, soups, stews, mornay, bread and butter puddings, muffins. All of these have great use it up potential as you can vary the ingredients so much.

Some things that stretch a meal like a casserole or meat meal are yorkshire puddings,  vegetable side dishes, dumplings, corn bread, bread rolls, rice, mashed or baked potatoes or sweet potatoes, potato bake and Nan's tomato casserole.

Left overs and bits and pieces take on all sorts of possibilities when you have highly adaptable recipes. So that is something I am working on in following posts. It helps us eliminate waste and be creative!

What are your "use it up" recipes and recipes for when you really need to stretch a meal to go further?
Mimi recently said that she was trying to hold back one ingredient where possible when making a meal. Just adding one thing less. This over time was giving her ingredients to make another meal, or toward another meal. I thought this is really good. I often add more than I need. Economy wise and calorie wise this is a winner! You can kind of make a little game of it.

Another saver is to try and go just one more day before you shop. To have a use up every left over day and stretch your supplies out just an extra day. This can call for some inventiveness! But over a year this can be a big saving!

Combined I hope our ideas can help each others budgets.

I want to tell you a little thing. When we travelled recently we went through a lot of country towns. Increasingly we have noticed how many empty shops there are. How houses look run down and gardens dead. We have seen the gradual decline in many places we have visited but also in places we have lived. Tonight Andy was talking to his friend on the phone. His friend is a very industrious hard worker. (Also way out in the country). Andy said how he is finding it tough. People are not spending and there is no money around... so his business is very low and everyone else's are too. So he will do anything at all for a dollar and is taking on all kinds of random extra things. Each time we speak to someone from this area the report is a little bit worse.
I am not saying this is everywhere but we are noticing it where we live. Around here empty shops and closing shops are just the norm now.

So I think there is a great need for helps like the blogs we talk about, for blogs like The Cheapskates Club and My Abundant Life, for economical recipes like Mimi posts and for learning skills to do better, cook better, DIY, live frugally and happily... all of these things. The need must be there and people must be looking. And for us, the more we learn the better! The more we build up our pantries the better!

Have a wonderful week!


  1. Dear Annabel

    A very timely post and full of wisdom as always. I think that people are having a more realistic view recently as to what is appropriate expenditure and what is not. For a decade or more it was spend spend spend mentality without thought to what lay ahead and yet this was not the way of my parents nor my grandparents. So when we talk of our frugal ways we are perhaps relating to what was "normal" just a generation or two ago.

    My Mother did not waste any food nor did my Granparents. They made use of every little bit and I clearly remember eating bread that had been slowly dried in the oven for a snack, I loved it and all it meant was that there was nothing else in the house but to me it was a treat. Fruit was a treat and never bought in huge amounts but just a few pieces at a time or gleaned off a friend's tree. Food was not hugely discounted either, one could not buy "cheap milk" or "cheap bread" but then the farmer's were getting a fair price for their crops.

    We did not have a huge number of shops and I see why shops are closing and under the pump now because really how could we sustain these huge shopping centres and keep the small businesses alive. My greatest regret was the death of the local haberdashery. I loved it and they stocked everything, even putting away the wool for a project and allowing you to buy it one ball at a time as you needed it.

    The ways I often use up odds and sods is the happy crumble or a fruit muffin, soups, fried rice or risotto, pastry wraps, stir fries, shephards pie and even pancakes savoury and sweet. My 17 year old daughter loves soup (except pumpkin soup) and I have been making pots these holidays and we have that for lunch or for dinner it is just the nicest meal with a slice of bread for "dunking".

    Perhaps or should I say hopefully more of the next generation will g back to the "old ways" but sadly with easy credit and advertising I doubt it.

    God Bless and have a great week.

    1. Mel you have made me think of so many things... in Gawler there was a haberdashery shop.. and they had lovely fabrics and let you put away your wool like that! It was fabulous!
      I think the credit card debt thing will catch up as I think the government wont be able to pay everyone and we will end up like Greece or something... It is hard to know. But as we spoke about Thursday the endless spending people dont actually have must mean they will face a crisis sooner or later. Surely?!
      Meanwhile we make soup! Your suggestions are great use things up recipes... stir fries! I totally forgot those. Pasta sauces and shepards pie... also I should have said fritters... Mum used to make fritters with corn and little bits of left over roast meat. We loved them. Now I suppose she was trying to stretch left over roast! As a kid you dont know you just love these things!
      Today I went to the supermarket and had a few good buys. Tomorrow I am making a big lot of sausage rolls.
      Have a good week with some good developments!
      Thank you for your thoughts and ideas. I wish I could remember the name of that shop in Gawler it was there form many years... Jacobs? something like that.

    2. Mel S, you're so right about everything. Consumerism just drives me nuts, you sometimes wouldn't know there ever was a recession when I see the malls and Target just so busy. Less is definitely more.

  2. Ahh, comfort food!! Crumbles or as we call them 'crisps' just scream fall to me. And yes my grandmother and mother made these with just almost anything in them and on them! Rhubarb and strawberries or apple are wonderful together. Thanks for reminding me. :)

    1. Kathy the first time i heard of Crisps I didnt understand what they were. It was suggested I make my surplus peaches into Peach Crisp. When I googles this I thought oh that is a crumble! lol This is what happens we have slightly different terms. Well, making that peach crisp/crumble was the best suggestion!
      In summer we get quite a bit of free fruit. Even if I stew some and freeze it I can make a crumble in winter. But now pears and apples are fairly good prices so they are potential crumbles.
      I have never made one with strawberry... this sounds beautiful! xxx

    2. I am pretty sure that I was the one to call them Crisps here as we do in the US. I was raised on them! You can make them up with fresh fruit and pop them into the freezer unbaked. Just put them straight from the freezer to the oven and add some time to the baking. They do great that way! I have not done strawberry but I don't see why it would not work.

    3. It was you Lana I thought so but was worried if I said the wrong person! It was such a help and success!
      Re your comment below, I think the local shops and people would add hugely to your holidays. Local businesses who care add so much personality and charm and yes this is lacking in supermarkets and mega stores. Also getting to know people and I bet they remember you from last visit. This would help the town so much.
      Thanks for the tip on freezing the crisps that way. They are so good on a cold night, I am glad I learned to do this with peaches. I had used Apple but never peaches. Many thanks! Xxx

  3. Annabel, you have described perfectly my style of cooking. I love it! Not only does it save money, but very often you have the start of another meal in the fridge. We almost never have takeaway, and this is the reason why. I would rather pull my " starters" out of the fridge, and in 20 minutes have something to eat on the table, that is homemade, simple, warm and homely. We get to enjoy our homes that cost us so much money.
    Another meal I use leftovers with is Pizza. I make a 10 minute base from Pinterest, and when I bake vegetables, I do extra's in the oven for pasta dishes and pizzas as well as adding to salads. They also delicious mixed with cous cous and a simple dressing.
    Thank you also for raising the plights of country towns. Very often we are driving somewhere, we see the signs to how far it is to the next " Maccas" etc. How much better if we need to stop for something, to stop in these small towns, fill the car, buy some local produce and leave a little money in the local economy.
    We all win in the end, otherwise, we will have no areas of affordable housing and employment in small businesses.
    I can't wait to see what everyone shares! Love Helen xxx

    1. Dear Helen,
      You should write a post on starters... I know just what you mean. Only needing to add this or that to get a meal. I love to have extra roasted vegies. They are packed full of flavor and are the "starter" of a soup, pizza, frittata, or as a side with meat the next day. While the oven is on I love to have extra things in there giving me another meal or part of another meal.
      We find small towns have the best op shops and little stores and local produce. I think I have so many good finds as we take the time to stop instead of sailing straight through these places. (as many people do, on to Maccas as you say...)
      Thank you for your thoughts. They are lovely as always. Love

  4. Oh salivating at those puddings, yum yum yum. I'm like Helen above too, I hate buying takeaway. Last week my partner said he wanted to help me and get some takeaway on the way home. We almost ended up arguing over it because he wanted to help me and I said if you want to help then stop and buy some veggies or meat or something, not flipping pizza etc. Anyway I said how long till you're home, and when he said half an hour, I said let's decide when you get home and he was happy with that. I had home cooked pizza scrolls just coming out of the oven timed with his arrival. He loved them, so did I.

    It's difficult sometimes when you live with someone who has a different mindset. He says I work hard all week why can't i shout you a takeaway. In the end I had to say that having takeaway generally makes me fill ill and miserable. I said how many things I could make and do for the same, and it is always more than one meal. He's put out cos i won't accept that help but it's not really help is it?
    I also worry about little towns. It is very drastic out there, I love to spend money there rather than a fast food chain too. Generally we have picnics, but if I was out and needed stuff for later or home, I love to buy a newspaper or tatts ticket in a small town or so. These country towns are how we started really and it's very sad to see their demise. Note to self, Sunday drive coming up. Coins in the purse and off we go.

    But first, to make crumble..................

    1. Fiona I have had a lot of not good luck with takeaway myself. Not always pretty think bloating and break outs and things!
      But aside of that I can make A LOT of good food for that same cost. I do love to go somewhere special and experience actual fine dining. Which is a massive treat. And for our anniversary that is our present to each other a fabulous night out. And so far each time it has been a wonderful night and amazing food and I get all kinds of ideas on things like presentation, combinations and even table settings! But things that come in a cardboard box and are expensive I now just dont really do. So I understand..
      And you proved your point by having something yummy ready so fast!
      WHen going through country areas I love to buy produce especially road side stalls! At least I know a farmer is getting that money.We will have to plan a Sunday drive too... we have the Barossa Valley an hour away, also the Adelaide hills which are full of apple farms and cherry farms etc. and markets. Autumn picnic... good idea!
      Have a wonderful week! xxx

    2. Love your hills, just gorgeous, also like the Barossa and have very fond memories of the mclarenvale (Andrew Garrett wines, but that was years and years ago). I'm not against eating out either, just against wasting money on what ultimately is crappy food. Feeling urky last night with painful back etc so we got pitta bread bases out of freezer and made homemade pizza for tea. Very satisfying. A lot higher too than the shop ones, loaded with coloured capsicum, juicy mushrooms, ham, cheese, olives, they were great. Speaking of lovely dining, heading off soon on the Colonial Tramcar restaurant. Was a special birthday gift from my kids and looking forward to it. I've been on it quite a few times and never gets old. If you come to Melbourne, I can highly recommend it to you both, well in fact to anyone. Beautiful food, great service and sashaying around melbourne in a gorgeous old tram. You have a great week too. x

    3. That pizza sounds beautiful.
      I have heard of the tram restaurant, it sounds fabulous. What a lovely gift!the whole experience sounds like fun plus good food.
      Today is my sausage roll making day.... Xxx

  5. Annabel, I love crumbles of any type. This post has come at an ideal time for me as I am trying to work out what easy and frugal meals we can have this winter. Tonight it's pea soup done in the slow cooker, with some leftovers for lunch tomorrow. I have used the last of the potatoes to bulk it out a little more.

    1. Dear Maggie oops I hit reply and missed so your reply is a comment below xx

  6. Maggie your soups sounds so good! And it is great to have left overs for lunch. I like to do big amounts of soup as I think it gets better over a couple of days in the way some casseroles do. Must be the flavors blending.
    I hope the series is useful for you... already some good ideas are coming in form all the wonderful ladies. I think most of us feel hungrier in winter and food needs to be warming too. I dont think you can beat soups and stews... I love lamb shanks but they are mostly expensive now. I did get some last year for $1.50 each from a whole saler and they were really good. But slow cooking is so wonderful as it turns something that could be tough into something falling off the bone.
    Thank you for your

  7. This is such a useful post Annabel.

    Everyone I know loves crumble. It is so versatile for so many fruits. Tonight for dessert I made apple roly poly's, an old fashioned dessert with a yummy syrup sauce. I had leftover apples to use up. It went down a treat. For mains we had porcupine meatballs done the pressure cooker with roast veggies baked in the pizza oven ,Yum!

    I have dug out all my old recipe books and refer to them often these days. The recipes are all simple and frugal and taste quite delightful. My favourite recipe books would have to be the ones printed from churches or schools where different ladies submit their favourite recipes.

    With leftovers, they are usually eaten the next day for lunch. Left over chicken meals like curry I make into pies and same with leftover spaghetti bog, I just add some cheese and put in pastry. Leftover roasts, veggies and gravy are combined together and made into meat pies or shepherds pie. At meal time I often cook extra for hubby to have meals to take to work.

    Re the shops closing, I think a lot of it is the big multinational companies squeezing out the little man. Yes we all feel good about getting specials etc from these big stores, but the little ones cannot compete because they don't have the resources to do so. In our town, Woollies, Coles and recently Big W are slowly destroying the smaller businesses in our main street, there are so many empty shops now which is sad to see.

    I look forward to further posts like this one, you keep me inspired, thank you.

    God Bless,


    1. Dear Tania,
      When I see all the empty shops I always wonder what became of the people who had to close it? Did they recover financially... etc. It is sad.
      I do a lot of planned left overs and these cover the lunches too. And Andys work lunches. This makes life so easy. Tonight we had roast chicken and loads of vegies. I know I can make him an easy lunch in the morning with chicken and still have chicken left over for something else.
      I love the old books you mention. The ladies contributing these recipes with their names next to them... they would sooner die than have their name next to a dodgy recipe! So the recipes are well tried and tested family recipes. I have a lot of success with them. Plus as you say they use basic ingredients, are yummy and very economical. What a perfect combination! My first cook book was the Nursing Mothers Cookbook. I still have it and use it. Full of basics and every single thing is simple and good.
      Also no ingredients that are mysterious "eye of a gnat" type things where you think good heavens what even is that!?
      I dont know if you would have thought of it but did you take a picture of the apple roly poly? It sounds beautiful... if you put the recipe on the blog I will link to it as I think all the ladies would love it. And we all have apples that need using up at times.
      Thank you Tania, I love your cooking and ideas. Love

  8. A great post as usual, Annabel. We don't eat desserts but I can remember having apple or rhubarb crumble a lot when growing up. In winter I like to make lots of soups. Hubby is from the Mediterranean so like meals with lots of veggies and will often come in from the garden and warm up some soup for a snack or for lunch so I always make extras when I make soup. We have a lot of winter vegetables planted so hopefully they will grow quickly as I saw cauliflowers in one of our local fruit and veggie shops today which has really good prices and they were $10.!!!

    1. Nanna Chel Mediterranean food is the best! If I can choose any restaurant I would choose Greek. That is my favourite cuisine. Also very healthy.
      I saw Cauliflowers today for $7 something and I thought that was terrible. But $10! I moved on and carrots were $1 a kilo so they came home with me also a selection of things all under $3 a kilo, my magic number! Such expensive vegies (which includes broccoli here) make growing your own a very good idea! I wonder if we will see caulis for a couple of dollars again? Last year I got broccoli for $2 a kilo... now I wish I had frozen a huge quantity.
      I love to make big batches of soup. I could live on soup in winter! Thanks for your comment Nanna

  9. Annabel, this is another very good and timely post. So glad you are doing a series on this. The crumbles/crisps are so good. If the amount of leftover fruit is not enough to make a crumble/crisp I would put it in a freezer container in the freezer and keep adding various fruits to it until I had enough to make one. I'm going to post a link to this post on my A Working Pantry Facebook group.

    1. Thank you so much Patsy. Every meal we stretch is helping up with our pantries and supplies and general budget too.
      I have a post coming up on ways to stretch meat meals. My Dad and husband love their meat so I have had good practise with this one! Thank you for linking that is so good of you. Xxx

  10. Annabel,

    Crumbles sound wonderful. I suppose we call them cobblers or crisp in the US. I like Crumbles better! I always make "crumbles" or crisps with peaches and apples. I never thought of using up other fruits. I am not for sure why, but I am so excited to experiment. I like the ideas in other comments as well. I try hard to stretch meat as my husband is a huge meat eater. Yesterday I made a whole chicken and then with the leftovers I have Chicken Potpie waiting for us to enjoy for supper tonight. I have kept a bowl for left over veggies to toss in a soups or noodles for other dishes.

    1. Chrissy I was the same I was stuck on apples and apricots and never thought of peaches until Lana said. Now I am using pears also. And the addition of sultanas is yummy.
      I think men are often big meat eaters. All the guys I know are. In following posts I have a whole heap of ways to stretch meat meals as I have been learning this one over the years! Enjoy your pot pie tonight that sounds delicious! Xxx

    2. I will go back Nd read on stretching the meats. Thanks!

  11. I know I have mentioned before that we own a share of a vacation house. It is in a small town and many store fronts were vacant in recent years. More and more people are buying houses on the lake there for vacation property and we are seeing a real revival in our little town away from home. When we are there we do go out for some meals and there are wonderful little places with real home cooked food for very reasonable prices. I like knowing that we are supporting those who live there year round. We also have favorite little shops that we go to as there are nothing like them in the bigger city that we live in. The service and friendliness of the owners cannot be matched in a big impersonal mega store.

  12. Such clever ideas Annabel, thank you. I often think Greece is an example of a country that fell upon hard times without a lot of civil unrest. Other countries tend to have more outbreaks of civil violence when their economy tanks. I remember reading articles a couple of years ago about young people in their 20's in Greece heading back to their grandparents properties/farms and building a future there for themselves because there were no jobs in the towns and cities.

    1. Sherry what you say is really a good point... I know in the wars that those families with relatives on farms were very blessed by that. Heading out of the city to the farms where you could grow things, hunt, fish etc and live that way. Our family has a farm and I always think we could go there and be ok if needed. I had not thought of what is happening in Greece this way but it is just the same! It looks like it might be about to get even worse in Greece so I hope most people have some sort of connection with a farm which would help them. Cities are not such a good place in hard times. Thanks this was a very thought provoking comment! Xxx

  13. We are off on a break today and will do as we always do - when we are out for drives we patronise smaller towns and shops - Macca's are OK for toilet breaks but that is it as far as we are concerned.

    Growing up there would be a huge pot of soup made for the weekend, usually vegetable with a lamb shank in it for flavour - anyway that pot would be stretched in winter for the start of the week by adding a can of tomato soup and a bit of water.

    If I cook soup my husband will only have 1 bowl and that is his meal (he is not a soup person which puts us at odds) so I usually freeze the rest and pull it out when we want an easy meal. He will only eat certain soups too which is a pain.

    As a rule dessert hasn't been on the menu but I am thinking it might start making an appearance given that I am going to switch the larger evening meal to lunch time so we will be having a much lighter one in the evening.

    Now that I have time I am going to investigate a couple of places I use to go to - both are about 1/2 an hour away from me but from memory they were like aladin's cave when it comes to sewing. They are not in country towns - city businesses are facing the same problems but with them it is the rising rent and if they are in a major shopping centre their contract states that every so many years they need to refurbish their space - of course it needs to be to a certain standard as well so it is a complete gut and start again for them.

    I have heard a whisper that another major supermarket and a variety store are going to be built on the Island - that is going to create jobs BUT it is also going to make it harder for the small shops to exist.

    Have a grat week everyone - the weather is not perfect, overcast and cool but we will still enjoy ourselves. My husband has plans to take a dip at the beach every morning - I think he will do it once and then not do it again because it is too cold.


    1. Have a wonderful time Lynette and happy hunting! I think its so exciting setting off on a trip and you never know what you might come home with!
      The soup with lamb shanks sounds delicious. Nana made a lamb and vegies soup that was very thick and we virtually grew up on it as it was so regular. I have her recipe and she wrote it out for me but it never has turned out like hers!
      Enjoy a wonderful time away! xxx

  14. Hi Annabel and can I say hi to everyone else too? What a lovely little community we have developing, all thanks to Annabel. We love a crumble too, but being gluten free means that we actually cover our 'crumble' with a fragrant brown sugar and cinnamon gluten free cookie dough, so it's almost more like a 'pie'. We love it. Thankyou for mentioning my little strategy of holding one ingredient back. You know, this creates almost a whole new meal every five days, meaning that over a year, you have 73 extra meals, from doing nothing more than omitting one or two ingredients from another meal. For example, I made a super fresh chilli con carne the other night. The recipe called for about 15 ingredients, including diced carrot and celery, fresh herbs, bacon, lime wedges and so on...very flash indeed for a humble chilli con carne. Instead, I added broccoli stalks sliced super thin with a mandolin and which most people throw away instead of the carrot and celery, omitted the bacon and lime wedges altogether adding Smokey Paprika and a pinch of Citric Acid instead, and managed to create a noodle stir fry the next night with the bacon, diced carrot, celery, and lime wedges. Both the chilli con carne, and the bacon, veg and noodle stir fry, were pronounced delish and both a product of the ingredients meant to be used on one meal alone. It's a fun strategy once you get the hang of it! Beautiful photos too Annabel. Mimi xxx

    1. Mimi any gluten free cakes or biscuits you make, crumbed, would work too I think... even fresh cake or muffin crumbs... maybe?
      This story of how you saved ingredients is brilliant. Firstly I glaze over when a recipe has more than about six ingredients. Some are just too complicated, some really have too many or unnecessary ingredients. Many have been produced to sell or promote a product! This is where learning substitutions is helpful. Your broccoli stalks filled that role perfectly. (and other alterations).
      We have mentioned before when a recipe calls for pine nuts you can usually substitute something else... but there are hundreds of possibilities!
      Quite often I will double a recipe but not double the expensive components. The more we learn the better we are at these things.
      This was so helpful. I think a light bulb will light up in many of our heads as it did mine! Thank you Mimi! xxx

  15. Hi Annabel,
    Thant crumble looks delicious. Just the thing for this cold weather. I'm definitely going to give it a go. I'm gluten intolerant, so I'll try it with gluten free biscuits. I made a very yummy gluten free chocolate banana bread today, using some chocolate that had gone a bit white. It melted beautifully though and I just stirred it into the top of the batter. I was also using some bananas that had gone brown, which I had frozen.
    Also, I made weetbix slice this morning for the kids' recess using the crumbs from the bottom of the weetbix box. I just hate to see things go to waste, and it seems like I'm in good company! Thanks for all your great ideas. Xx

    1. Stephanie my Mum eats gluten free and she also has cakes and biscuits that I think would work just find as crumble topping. Some nuts mixed in would be lovely too.
      Your cooking sounds beautiful! Im imagine what these would have cost in a shop. Once I saw 6 gluten free biscuits for $16! (in a fancy packet)
      Good things for the kids lunch boxes are so nice and good for them. The weetbix box always has crumbs in the bottom! Very handy as toppings.
      Thanks Stephanie for commenting! xxx

  16. Annabel, Thank you for a great post! I'm going to really enjoy this series! Apple crisp/crumble is my favorite and I usually add some red hot cinnamon candies to the apples, using less sugar, depending on the type of apple I'm using. These candies melt and make a pretty pink apple filling.
    Your pictures are beautiful and I'm learning so much from you and all who comment. I would like to email you a question but can't find your email address. I'm not too good with computers lol Would you mind sharing it? If not, I understand.
    Like you and others have said about small towns and shops, I too feel the loss of such wonderful, "homey" stores.
    Mimi, thank you for sharing how you omit/change ingredients. I'm going to try that. Looking forward to more ideas! Teri

    1. Thanks Teri! It is a Jamie Oliver tip that you can also put some jam through the crumble, in place of the sugar. It adds sweetness and more fruit and colour as well, richness of flavor.
      I am glad for you to have my email it is I will look forward to hearing from you. Next week Stretch a Meal is going to cover some substitutions that save money and stretch things followiing on from Mimis great comment. xxx

    2. I love the idea of using red hots and jam ..,interesting!

  17. I have been thinking about what you said about crumbles. I think that is a very good idea, and I could even make small ones for myself or as little gifts for friends, if it were something my immediate family wouldn't eat.

    I read on another blog awhile back that someone was using the tops, bottoms, roots and hard outer skins of onions and garlic to make their stock and I have been doing this with great success. It takes something I was throwing away and makes it useful. It has never been a problem at all and makes the stock such a nice color, too.

    1. Cristy a crumble would be a lovely gift! Just about anyone would love that!
      So many things do well in a stock. In another comment Mimi finely sliced broccoli stalks and used through a recipe in place of other vegies. But this would also be great in stock. So many things get thrown out but in a stock all those vitamins and minerals and flavor get another life!
      It is so nice to find these things out. Even today I visited my friend and I learned some new ideas for "Stretch a meal" posts! It is really exciting to learn new things... my friend is a good cook... I was frantically writing down ideas!
      Thank you so much for commenting!

  18. We love crumbles and crisps in our home also. You have shared some great ideas! I never thought of keeping crumbs from random things to recreate a frugal topping jar, excellent. We do keep our nut discards after bar cookies in the freezer to use as muffin, yogurt or ice cream topping... We often sub out butter for coconut oil (thought coconut oil isn't frugal, it is healthy which makes up for it sometimes) when in a hurry because you don't have to melt it when the temp is warmer. Also, I will add in some oatmeal to the toppings too. Stretching and leftovers are a way of life on our farm so I look forward to the rest in your new series. I am so glad you joined the Art of Home-Making Mondays! :)

  19. My dear Annabel, what a clever idea! I love crumble toppings, but have only used them on sweet treats...what a wonderful idea to use them for other dishes :)

    I greatly appreciated this post and am so glad you shared it with Roses of Inspiration. Hugs to you!

  20. I love "crumbles" too! It is a wonderful way to use up leftovers and stretching them a bit farther... and doing that always feels wonderful to be able to stretch our dollar bills a bit further! May the Lord bless your day... visiting here from Roses of Inspiration :)


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